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Turkey Extends State of Emergency for Sixth Time

Turkey Extends State of Emergency for Sixth Time

Tuesday, 9 January, 2018 - 08:15
A supporter holds a flag depicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a pro-government demonstration in Ankara, Turkey on July 20, 2016. (Reuters)

The Turkish government announced on Monday that it was extending the state of emergency, which has been imposed in the country since a failed coup attempt in July 2016, for another three months.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag made the announcement during a press conference following a cabinet meeting that was chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This will mark that the sixth such extension of an emergency rule that has ushered in a sweeping crackdown.

Emergency rule allows the president and cabinet to bypass parliament in passing new laws and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms. More than 50,000 people have been arrested since its introduction and 150,000 have been sacked or suspended from their jobs in the military, public and private sectors.

Bozdag said the national security council was due to discuss the extension and that the cabinet would later approve it.

The current period of the emergency rule is scheduled to end on January 19. With the latest three-month extension, Turkey will have completed more than a year and a half under emergency rule, which was imposed on July 20, 2016.

The government says the purges are necessary to confront security challenges facing Turkey and to root out supporters of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who it says was behind the coup attempt. Gulen has denied any involvement.

Meanwhile, opposition Nationalist Movement Party of Devlet Bahçeli announced that it will back Erdogan in the 2019 presidential elections.

Bahçeli told local media in Ankara: “We will not field any candidate in next year’s elections and we will support Erdogan in the Yenikapi spirit.”

He was referring to the million-strong Turkish political party rally that was staged in Istanbul’s Yenikapi square in wake of the failed 2016 coup.

Bahçeli said that he did not discuss with Erdogan the possibility of forging a political alliance in the future, saying however that he was open to such talks.

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